How To Solve Estimation Problems

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Is there a particular strategy the interviewer is seeking?

After coaching hundreds of clients as a PM Coach with PMLesson, I’ve learned strategies that do and that clearly do not work. Before you even go to the interview, take time to memorize a few basic numbers.

This interview question tests how you think, not the final answer.

Ask questions to clarify the scope of the problem in question.

You’ll just need to know a few basics to ground your answer.

It’s not impressive for you to memorize the answers to all possible interview questions.

For instance, in the schoolbus weight question, sum each component’s weight for the final number. Tell your interviewer if, based on a quick gut check, you think your answer is an overestimate or an underestimate.

Explain to your interviewer what factors you would consider if you had more time.

Explain why you’ve decided to choose a particular number!

Let’s take a couple examples to demonstrate: How would you go about estimating the weight of elements like tires, if you have absolutely no idea? Most humans can pick up a tire, so it can’t be more than 50lbs.


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